Alaskan college senior planning expedition to test water quality in Superior National Forest
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - On June 28, two Alaskan siblings will embark on an expedition to test water quality in Superior National Forest, as one college senior is combining her educational experience and passion to make an environmental impact.
Chloe Steiner is not your average college senior. While other students are planning for summer vacation, Steiner is planning to literally test the waters on how to preserve the natural environment.
Steiner is planning to canoe the longest continuous route in the Boundary Waters of northern Minnesota to collect water quality data. The route will be the same one fur traders took hundreds of years ago. According to Steiner, this body of water is claimed to be some of the cleanest water in the world.
“I kind of wanted to see how much is that really true,” Steiner said. “And also, the Boundary Waters is the most visited wilderness area in the country so it has a lot of user impacts.”
The reason Steiner’s 30-day journey must be completed by canoe is that the Boundary Waters is a designated wilderness area so there can be no motorized vehicles of any kind. The days will be long as Steiner plans on traveling an average of 10 miles per day.
However, Steiner chose to bring her brother, Clay, along to help as she puts her wilderness survival skills to use. Steiner had her brother take a wilderness training course prior to the trip.
“This is basically a test of everything I’ve learned. It’s kind of all on me. I’m the leader of this trip and I have to do everything for it so if something fails it’s on me so it’ll be interesting to see how he feels at the end of it,” Steiner said.
Steiner has been planning this expedition in her head for years, but in the last six months, she has put in extensive work to bring her dreams to fruition. In order to make this trip happen, Steiner had to put together a 65-page report focusing on her project proposal and risk management. Steiner chose the Boundary Waters as her family used to spend every summer there growing up. It was on those trips that her passion for environmental preservation began.
“Out in a wilderness area you don’t have much for distractions, you’re going through the same experiences together. And it was a time that my brothers and I would get to play together. We’re not in school, we get to go up there, it’s warm, you get to go swimming, and just being with family, it’s the most time we get to spend together is on those trips,” Steiner said.
She hopes to use her findings to help the U.S. Forest Service better manage boundary waters and see how it compares to their current practices.
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